Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
Pa Ayo Adebanjo, leader of pan-Yoruba group Afenifere, criticised the Buhari administration on Monday over Nigeria slipping into a second recession, which experts have said would lead to many job losses.
The elder statesman, in an interview with journalists, following a condolence visit to Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State at his Agodi Office in Ibadan over the demise of his mother, Madam Abigail Makinde, who died on Thursday, October 15, said that ‘bad administration’ is the cause of a second recession and not the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Adebanjo said that for Nigeria to exit its socio-economic and political quagmires, President Buhari must restructure the country such that true federalism would fully come into operation.
He said he was not surprised that Nigeria had entered into a second recession, remarking: ‘I am only sad. The administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has never been an acceptable one to me. He does not know and he does not know that he does not know. He is ignorant. There is no other thing you can get. He is ignorant and he does not listen to those who have experience. I hold a different view about Buhari.
‘Buhari won’t yield to those talking about restructuring, one Nigeria. He has a programme of his own, which is to Islamise the country. The only one Nigeria they believe in is Nigeria where the Fulani will dominate the rest of the country and it will not work. We are not ignorant people.
‘When did COVID-19 begin? What position did COVID-19 meet us? Other countries also had COVID-19 but because of a solid economy; solid political stability, it did not affect them as we are having. Don’t be deceived by COVID-19; we are not the only victim of COVID-19. But because of the bad administration that COVID-19 met us, that we are having this. And instead of facing this, he is talking of harassing, suppressing the press. We are back to the military regime. This is not Nigeria we fight for.
‘I have been fighting for the progress of this country when he himself was a toddler. I have been on it since 1950, which is 70 years ago. He is 74 years. In practical politics, how old is he? We are now fighting Boko Haram.
‘In 1979, I spent one year in Maiduguri campaigning for the UPN (Unity Party of Nigeria) under the leadership of Chief Obafemi Awolowo, for a united country. That is where they now say they cannot go. My party then had a candidate there, Paul Bassey, who died a few months ago. We now say let us have a Nigeria where every one of us will be happy, where we all can make progress, you say no. And this is the constitution Sardauna (of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello), Awolowo and (Nnamdi) Azikwe agreed to. It was the military that tore the agreement they made in 1954 and you want us to continue under that.’
Fielding questions on the way forward for the country, Adebanjo responded: ‘The way is for him to restructure the country now. And you don’t entertain anybody asking where the presidency will go. It is a diversion. When we restructure the country and have an acceptable constitution agreed to by all the federating units, not the one imposed on us by the military, we will know where the Presidency will go. The presidency is right of any unit of the country to attain the highest position when it is their turn.
‘Those talking about South East presidency, when did they come into existence? We have been talking about this before. This constitution is a fraudulent constitution. It is not our constitution. It is imposed on us by the military after the military insurgence of 1966. All the complaints in the country today is a product of this imposed constitution. They only agree on the unity of Nigeria on their own terms. What gives the North the power to dictate to the rest of the country what we should do? It will not work.’